• Addressing DACA Impact on School Climate
    BLOG

    Addressing DACA Impact on School Climate

    September 2017

    Kamilah Drummond-Forrester of WCW's Open Circle took to the Women Change Worlds blog to respond to the DACA decision, addressing its potential impact on school climate and how social and emotional learning can help educators and students in challenging times.

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  • Women's Review of Books
    NEWS

    New Women's Review of Books Is Here

    September/October 2017

    The new issue of Women's Review looks at books by and about women on gender politics in Egypt, the demise of lesbian culture, the impact of China's one-child policy, and the writing of Pat Parker.

    Browse the issue>>
  • Developing Babies’ Literacy Skills
    BLOG

    Developing Babies’ Literacy Skills

    September 2017

    Wendy Wagner Robeson, Ed.D., highlights the ways parents, caregivers, and other adults can help infants and young children develop strong literacy skills.

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  • Lunchtime Seminar Series
    EVENT

    Join Us for Our Thought-Provoking Discussion Series at Wellesley College

    October/November 2017

    Researchers, project directors, and friends of WCW will share works in progress or lead discussions on issues surrounding gender equality, social justice, and human wellbeing during our Lunchtime Seminar Series. Those who can't attend in person can watch presentations live on Facebook.

    Go to event calendar>>
  • Back to School, This Time with Social and Emotional Learning
    BLOG

    Back to School, This Time with Social and Emotional Learning

    September 2017

    Gwynne Guzzeau, M.S., J.D., of WCW's National Institute on Out-of-School Time explains what social and emotional learning is all about and why you may notice schools sending home forms about it.

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  • In the news
    NEWS

    WCW in the News

    Our research scientists and project directors discuss their work and share expertise with major news outlets.

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The Wellesley Centers for Women is a premier women- and gender-focused, social-change oriented research-and-action institute at Wellesley College.
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Wellesley Centers for Women

Commentary with Jennifer Grossman

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Let’s Talk about #Sex by Jennifer Grossman, Ph.D.

Think about it—in many of our parents’ and grandparents’ generations, there was little family conversation about sex. Often, for religious and cultural reasons, family communication about sex was considered taboo. Many teens did not know what sex was or how to protect themselves from pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This has changed in many families, as cultural expectations have shifted and there is growing recognition that teenparent sexuality communication can protect teens from early pregnancy and STIs. Many parents also have reflected on the potentially harmful effects that ignorance about sexuality had on their own teenage years and lived experiences. Parents now often commit to talking with their children about sex, breaking from traditions of family silence from past generations, as a way to support their children’s healthy development.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Recommendations: Quality Out-of-School Time

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by Ellen Gannett, M.Ed. and Elizabeth Starr, M.Ed., National Institute on Out-of-School Time


Quality Out-of-School Time Begins with Investment in Staff

As expectations for high-quality afterschool and outof-school time (OST) programs continue to rise, a skilled, stable and committed OST workforce is critically important. Yet supports for youth workers, and resulting staff quality, remain uneven at best due in part to a highly fragmented landscape. Compensation remains stagnant and opportunities for professional advancement and public recognition remain practically non-existent.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Recommended Reading for the Next President

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The March April 2016 issue of Women’s Review of Books (WRB) was quite different from the publication’s usual offering. Amy Hoffman, M.F.A., editor-in-chief, included a special section featuring WRB writers and some other favorite feminists sharing recommendations of what they thought the next U.S. president should be reading, in preparation for taking office. Additionally, Cartoon Editor Jennifer Camper illustrated the special section and added brevity with her artwork. The list that resulted is fascinating—and could probably keep even the most well-read person productively busy for the entire next presidential term. But it wasn’t quite what Hoffman expected.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Recommendations: Preventing Depression in Young People

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By Tracy R.G. Gladstone, Ph.D., WCW associate director and senior research scientist, director of the Robert S. and Grace W. Stone Primary Prevention Initiatives


Depression is Prevalent but Prevention Programs Are Limited

According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide—it is the most common psychiatric disorder in the U.S., and is particularly common among lower income populations, and among women beginning in adolescence. The average age of onset for depression is 15, and about 20 percent of all people will have experienced an episode of depression by the end of adolescence. Youth depression is associated with a host of negative and long-term consequences, including poorer school performance, difficult peer and family relationships, increased risk of substance abuse, and poorer functional outcomes in adulthood. Of particular note is the connection between youth depression and suicide. Although not all people who commit suicide were depressed at the time, depression and suicidal behavior are indeed linked. Suicide is a tremendous problem in the U.S. and is the second leading cause of death among American adolescents.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Q&A with April Pattavina, Ph.D. and Linda M. Williams, Ph.D.

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Research & Action Report, Fall/Winter 2015

By April Pattavina, Ph.D. and Linda M. Williams, Ph.D.

The Justice and Gender-Based Violence Research Initiative

The Justice and Gender-Based Violence Research Initiative, led by Co-Directors Linda M. Williams, Ph.D., and April Pattavina, Ph.D., senior research scientists, was recently launched at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW). Longtime followers of the Centers may recognize Williams, who was director of research at the Stone Center at WCW from 1996 to 2005. In that role, she led the Navy Family Study, a comprehensive approach to understanding the factors that affect successful and unsuccessful outcomes for Navy families involved with the family advocacy office, as well as the outcomes for adults and children exposed to domestic violence, child physical abuse, or child sexual abuse. Williams co-directed the National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center and continued her research on the long-term consequences and memories of child sexual abuse. Pattavina comes to WCW from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, where she collaborated with Williams and colleague Melissa S. Morabito, Ph.D., associate professor, on the national multi-site study of sexual assault case attrition through the criminal justice system that is described in the following interview. She brings an interest in applying advances in information and computer technology to the study of social problems. She has been invited to give presentations and workshops on the use of administrative data for policy analysis and received an award from The Boston Foundation for using data to drive community change.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Commentary with Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D.

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Research & Action Report, Spring/Summer 2015

By Linda Charmaraman, Ph.D.

Virtual Harassment & Bullying in the College Years

Given the immense public attention on cyber bullying amongst teens and that social media is intricately tied to adolescent daily behavior, it’s not surprising that the vast majority of studies on cyber bullying are conducted on youth under 18. A recent review1 found that the highest incidence of cyber bullying in youth occurs during seventh and eighth grades—incidence that increases from elementary school, but decreases into the high school years. One might predict that since cyber bullying wanes in high school, that in college it would continue to wane. It was only until Pew’s recent study on online harassment in 2014—which demonstrated that the cyber harassment rate in young adults aged 18-24 can reach rates as high as 70 percent—that we can now see that young adulthood deserves more attention, academic inquiry, and public scrutiny.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Commentary with Layli Maparyan, Ph.D.

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Research & Action Report,Spring/Summer 2015

By Layli Maparyan, Ph.D.

Remembering Beijing: Reflections on the 20th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration / Platform for Action and CSW59

This year we commemorate the 20th anniversary of an important milestone in the history of the global women’s movement: The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA). The BPfA was the outcome document of the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women, which took place in Beijing, China, in September, 1995, along with the parallel NGO Forum in Huairou, China. The U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women represented the culmination of two decades of international women’s mobilizations (in Mexico City, Copenhagen, and Nairobi) and announced the formation of a truly global women’s movement. The Beijing/Huairou events were attended by over 50,000 people. Thus, this 20th anniversary is an important time of both celebration and reflection, not only for those who attended the events, but also for all those who care about and work on the issues enshrined in the BPfA.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Q&A with Sari Pekkala Kerr, Ph.D.

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Research & Action Report, Spring/Summer 2015

Sari Pekkala Kerr, Ph.D., arrived at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) in 2010 as a deeply experienced senior researcher/micro economist. Her expertise and research accomplishments have significantly broadened the Centers’ reach into the economic implications of various government policies and marketplace realities, often with a particular focus on gender. As a micro economist, she typically studies the effects of such policies and realities on the lives of individuals, families, and children. She also brings to her work in the U.S. significant contributions from her continuing research of related issues in Europe, especially her native Finland. As a social democracy, that nation maintains a vast body of demographic statistics that has enabled her to study and quantify effects of various policies on millions of specific individuals. In some of her current work in the U.S., she seeks as far as possible to achieve an analogous breadth of scope.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Black History Month in Germany

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tinyglobeLayli Maparyan, Ph.D., Katherine Stone Kaufmann ’67 Executive Director of the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) and Professor of Africana Studies at Wellesley College, engaged with diverse youth groups in Berlin, Germany in January 2015 to discuss the meaning of Black History Month and how it can cultivate social change leadership, not only in the U.S. but also around the world. Sponsored by the U.S. Embassy Berlin, the week-long tour offered Maparyan the opportunity to deliver a lecture, “Building Cultures of Inclusion Across Race, Ethnicity, and Religion: Comparing Notes Across the U.S. and Germany and Cultivating Social Change Leadership,” and engage in discussions with students and faculty of the John F. Kennedy Institute at the Free University; at University of Stuttgart; and at Freiburg University. Within the framework of the “womanism” praxis, Maparyan outlined non-oppositional problem-solving tools and illustrated how simple, personal acts can create amity and inclusion from the personal all the way up to the institutional level. In Bonn, Maparyan presented “A Womanist Perspective on Development” at the University of Bonn/ZEF, and “Building Cultures of Inclusion across Race, Ethnicity, and Religion: Comparing Notes across the U.S. and Germany and Cultivating Social Change Leadership” at Bonn University. Her trip concluded with Black History Month: A Storytelling Evening at Jugendkirche and a community meeting at the Anne Frank Educational Centre.

Wellesley Centers for Women

Depression Prevention and Obstetric Fistula

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tinyglobe Although surgical repair of fistula is associated with improvements in women’s quality of life and mental health, researchers have found even after being treated surgically to repair their fistula, many women still have difficulty engaging in family and community life. Tracy Gladstone, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist and Director of the Stone Primary Prevention Initiatives at WCW, traveled to Gondar, Ethiopia where she trained nurses to implement a new evidence-based depression prevention program being piloted at the University of Gondar Fistula Center. After initial planning meetings in Spring 2014, Gladstone and her team conducted onsite interviews in December with clinicians as well as patients who shared their knowledge about fistula; they talked about their current social support and coping strategies and expressed an interest in learning skills to manage their worries and feel better. After developing a protocol, Gladstone returned to Ethiopia in March 2015 and trained the clinicians (pictured below), providing follow-up support via web-based communications as the hospital team readied for implementation. This spring, data from the first two cohorts who took part in the cognitive behavioral therapy program, and from the clinicians who led the initiative at the hospital, have resulted in promising positive outcomes—depression symptom scores decreased substantially. Further program details will be included in the Fall/Winter issue of the Research & Action Report.